Top Lithuanian government officials have criticised Belarus for its lax response to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic, eliciting an angry reaction from Minsk, local media reported. Lithuania is now considering closing its border with Belarus.
Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, and Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius all said in recent days that Belarus was mishandling the spread of the virus.
That could make Belarus “an uncontrolled hotspot” for the epidemic, Linkevicius said, according to news website lrt.lt.
Belarus registered 122 new coronavirus cases yesterday, bringing the total to 562, but Lithuanian accuse the Belarusian leader Aleksandr Lukashenko of offering misleading data on how the pathogen has spread.
The Belarusian health ministry has restricted the provision of data on the number of registered patients with coronavirus (COVID-19), while the state media have run stories of success in dealing with the outbreak. Lukashenko himself notoriously told Belarusians to drink vodka to avoid infection.
Lukashenko responded to the comments from politicians in Vilnius by telling the Lithuanian president to “take care of your own virus,” lrt.lt reported.